As with the demo, I already find my Infiltrator Shepard is leaning towards sniper rifles as a primary weapon. So, excluding anything DLC or otherwise not in the core game, which Sniper Rifle has the highest DPS and which has the highest damage per individual shot?

And where in the single player campaign can I find or buy them?

  • Note that compromise might be necessary when choosing a sniper riffle. The riffles with the highest DPS usually have the lowest damage per shot because of high thermal clip capacity. The high damage per shot riffles can often only accommodate 1 to 3 shots before reloading. The Black Widow may be an exception, though.
    – MBraedley
    Mar 10, 2012 at 19:21
  • at least on multiplayer, the m-98 widow is the best sniper rifle imo. Not much of a dropoff in firing rate if you use the speed reloading trick. Lets me 1 shot advanced enemies like marauders and pyros even on silver.
    – l I
    Apr 9, 2012 at 15:58
  • What's the speed reloading trick @yx?
    – DMA57361
    Apr 9, 2012 at 16:01
  • 1
    @DMA57361 when you reload normally, your character has to chamber the round and finish cocking the rifle before you can shoot. However, you can interrupt the animation by either 1) using a skill, 2) entering cover or 3) breaking cover and then scope+shoot immediately. Shaves ~1 second off the reload time.
    – l I
    Apr 9, 2012 at 16:02
  • I think all of them is okay. I played with Raptor, Viper, Widow, I liked all of them.
    – inf3rno
    Jan 8, 2016 at 3:20

9 Answers 9


Asking which sniper rifle has the highest DPS is kind of a bad question, IMO. The most important question that you should be asking is, "How easy is it to hit successive headshots".

All the damage in the world isn't going to save you if you can't hit jack squat.

The M98 Widow had the highest DPS of any sniper rifle in the last game, and its probably still one of (if not the) best in this game also. The problem with this from a DPS standpoint is that it is single shot / reload.

The Black Widow (available from Spectre Requisitions) does almost the same amount of damage as a Widow, but it can fire multiple times without reloading, meaning it should do superior damage if you're more accurate. (You can also get multiple damage bonuses from cloak if you're fast enough, something impossible with the widow because of the reload).

You should also check out the Javelin, which is found on Rannoch. It's like the Widow, but focused on shields/barriers instead of just armor, which makes it very good for banshees.

  • It's been years since I played this, but I remember thinking the Black Widow was the best. Think I used the Viper til I got it.
    – DCShannon
    Apr 19, 2016 at 13:26

M-98 Widow

Base Damage: 368.3 
Default ammo: 1 / 12 
Found during Priority: Thessia on the ledge where the Asari sniper is. 

Hope it helps

  • 1
    This only answers part of the question.
    – johnjon
    Mar 11, 2012 at 18:59
  • I think it covers 80% of the question
    – Vasil
    Mar 11, 2012 at 21:04
  • 2
    Arguably it doesn't really answer anything; you've just done a stats dump without explaining why you're doing so. I presume this is the highest damage-per-shot sniper available? What about DPS?
    – DMA57361
    Mar 12, 2012 at 9:54
  • 1
    @DMA57361 it's not even the highest damage per shot - that would be the Javelin.
    – kalina
    Jun 22, 2012 at 9:49

'Best' is of course subjective, 'Highest Damage' will be the Geth Sniper Rifle (called The Javelin) that has the highest damage per hit of any weapon in the game, but a slow attack speed and a 'power up' time when you attack of approximately half a second. This will pretty much always one shot any non-special enemy throughout the entire game with a headshot, including in multi-player on high difficulty settings, but takes some practice to get used to the lead time on the shots.

As I said, 'Best' is subjective but my personal opinion on it is The Javelin.

How to get it:

  • Single-player: On the path after a crashed escape pod during Rannoch: Admiral Koris. (Purchasable at Elkoss Combine Arsenal Supplies if missed during mission.)

  • Multiplayer: Randomly rewarded by purchasing an item pack.

Points of interest:

  • In single-player, the Javelin deals roughly the same damage as the M-98 Widow, however in multiplayer it deals about 20% more damage, thus placing the Javelin as the most powerful single-shot weapon in the game, Claymore aside.

  • The Javelin is a very powerful piercing weapon, starting off with its own natural high piercing thickness and high damage when piercing, and when paired with the piercing mod the Javelin can even pierce thin walls to pick off enemies with headshots.

  • With the highest-level piercing mod, the Javelin is able to shoot through almost any cover, including thick walls and floors. This is most observable in multiplayer, where the battlefields are on different levels and many different locales are present. In fact, a level V piercing mod allows the Javelin to fire straight through the floor of array control on Dagger and still get a one-shot body kill to standard enemies on silver.

It is also worth noting that this weapon gains bonuses from the 'Networked AI' ability, further increasing it's damage and reducing it's weight and gains additional benefit from the ability as this is a Geth weapon.


The Black Widow is my favorite because it has excellent DPS and one shot - one kill capacity.

While the widow and javelin have more damage per shot, if you miss you are screwed as you have to wait for a lengthy reload and reacquire your target. With the black widow, if you miss or if your target survives your first shot (not likely), you simply pull the trigger a second time to finish him.

You can clear areas much more efficiently with the black widow. With adrenaline rush it is not uncommon to kill 3 enemies per reload. In the right hands, the black widow can dispatch entire squads of enemies in seconds, even on the higher difficulty levels.

I should note that I have not played multiplayer, so I don't know if it has been nerfed or is viable for that mode. For single player though, the black widow is the best. The whole point of being a sniper is to kill your enemies before they can get close to you, and there is no better weapon in the game for doing that than the black widow.


Well, the Raptor has the highest firing rate of all the sniper rifles, and in my experience it took me less time to take out an Atlas with it than when using the M-98 Widow.


Krysae Sniper Rifle X with mods Sniper Rifle High-Velocity Barrel V and Sniper Rifle Concentration V. Enemies just explode in pieces, this is half sniper half rocket launcher.

For one who likes it 100% sniper but also have serveral shots, good fire rate and fast reload, I'd say N7 Valiant. Same modes as above.


For higher difficulty use nothing, but "Black Widow". Stay away from the single shot rifle. You can't single shot an enemy even if it has a tiny bit of protection.


I was addicted to the Black Widow. I played it twice so I could upgrade the Black Widow V to Black Widow X. It's just super insane. Using cyro ammo is the funniest part. One hit kills except headshots has an awesome "explosion" animation where the enemies literally breaks and shatters into small pieces.

Then there is it's predecessor, the ultimate M98 Widow. I liked it, but due to it one hit per reload, I didn't enjoy it as much as the Black Widow. But then I found the Javelin addictive.

I upgraded my Javelin to Javelin X, and BANG! This sweetie packs a punch like none other. The sound of the shot is like music to my ears. The scope is the best feature. It even lets me CLEARLY see cloaked enemies like the Geth Hunter and Phantoms. The thermal imaging system highlights the foes in purple and allies in blue. If you happen to see someone crouched behind cover using the Javelin X, shoot it. The thermal imaging systems will show hidden enemies through cover which you CAN shoot. Naturally penetration is a mod but the Javelin is a built in penetrator. I'm hooked to the Javelin and Black Widow. They're the best sniper rifles. Note I haven played Multiplayer so base this comment on SP


Playing only in Single Player, my preference is the Black Widow X. It still takes me seven rounds, (5 if they are strictly head shots) to take down a Banshe - which must be done quickly if you are using Disruptor Ammo. I use the concentrator mod V and the extended barrel for higher damage. It 'one shot' kills everything else, just about everything else - especially if aiming for the head. I like the 3 rounds capability before having to reload. I liked the one shot Black Widow and M98 Widow too but, too slow when hordes are storming you. I would like to see my bullets pass through lesser targets, (like husks), and do damage or kill what is behind them - even though there is something "wonderful" in seeing the green luminescent spray of a husk exploding in the scope when you overkill it using disrupter ammo.\

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